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Dems attack GOP congressman for cannabis advocacy (Newsletter: July 13, 2018)

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NY allows medical marijuana for opioid conditions; Lawmakers debate legalization & driving; OK lawmakers vow to fix medical cannabis regulations

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

In a Los Angeles Times op-ed, I called out the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for launching a bizarre anti-marijuana attack against Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) on Twitter. Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) told me in a statement that political organization’s tweet, which was deleted following the publication of my piece, was “stupid.”

New York regulators enacted emergency rules allowing medical cannabis for any condition that would normally be prescribed opioids.

The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee debated the alleged link between marijuana legalization and impaired driving during a hearing.

/ FEDERAL

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) said cannabis oil “has proven…to have a positive effect” but that he is concerned about broader medical marijuana being a “back door” to recreational legalization.

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “How can we solve the problem of U.S. citizens getting arrested or fined for carrying marijuana bought legally from Canada? Simple, by legalizing marijuana in our nation.”

The U.S. House bill to deschedule marijuana got one new cosponsor, got a total of 38.

The U.S. House resolution calling for equity in the marijuana industry got one new cosponsor, for a total of 16.

Arizona Democratic congressional candidates spoke about marijuana reform at a forum.

/ STATES

Oklahoma lawmakers formed a bipartisan working group to focus on seeing that medical cannabis is implemented in a way that “conforms to the will of the voters.” House Democrats are calling for a special legislative session to address the issue.

  • Supporters of a pending recreational marijuana legalization ballot initiative say they are seeing an uptick in signatures, driven by frustration with restrictions in new medical cannabis regulations.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D), after vetoing legislation to allow medical cannabis for opioid conditions, announced he signed amendments adding reciprocity for out-of-state patients, making certifications last for up to three years and enacting other expansions to the program.

New Jersey’s health commissioner is considering adding opioid addiction as a medical cannabis qualifying condition.

Georgia Republican gubernatorial candidates both said at a debate that they favor medical cannabis expansion but oppose recreational marijuana legalization.

Connecticut Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont said the “time has come” for marijuana legalization.

Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Flynn said he would do everything in his power to legalize marijuana and would pardon nonviolent cannabis offenders.

Oregon regulators issued a report saying the state’s medical cannabis program has “shortcomings that enabled growers, dispensaries and laboratories to operate without effective oversight.”

Michigan regulators awarded the state’s first four medical cannabis operating licenses. Meanwhile, the Detroit free press looks at the differences between the state’s marijuana legalization proposal and Colorado’s law.

New Mexico regulators sent a letter warning medical cannabis licensees to stop selling CBD and hemp products that were produced outside of the state.

Massachusetts regulators issued another marijuana cultivation license, but it is unlikely that legal sales will begin until August.

Alaska’s lieutenant governor certified regulations concerning marijuana business affiliates, inspection fees, odor control and trade shows.

Arkansas regulators voted to keep medical cannabis cultivation license applications open for 24 months in case any current awardees surrender or lose their licenses. They also approved a rule that would allow hiring an outside consultant to help review and score applications.

Ohio regulators approved more doctors to recommend medical cannabis.

/ LOCAL

The Dane County, Wisconsin Board voted to place a marijuana legalization advisory question on the November ballot. Several other counties have already done the same thing or are considering doing so.

U.S. cities considering opening safe consumption facilities for illegal drugs are wary of federal intervention.

A Denver, Colorado police captain said that a CNN live report on New Year’s Eve about marijuana tourism buses led to a crackdown on those services.

A San Francisco, California Board of Supervisors committee amended a marijuana tax measure that voters could potentially see on the November ballot.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Canadian government launched a public consultation on how to recover costs associated with implementing marijuana legalization.

/ ADVOCACY

NORML launched a congressional letter writing campaign.

Republican pollster Frank Luntz picked up on the story about Democrats criticizing a GOP congressman for supporting marijuana reform.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “consumption of medical cannabis flower is associated with significant improvements in perceived insomnia.”

Here’s a look at how Colorado is handling youth marijuana education under legalization.

/ BUSINESS

Bloomberg looks at how big investors are starting to get involved in the marijuana industry.

Uber reserves the right to delete the accounts of riders who possess — or even just smell like — marijuana during trips.

/ CULTURE

Filmmaker Kevin Smith is piloting a new series starring himself as a marijuana dispensary worker.

Three Massachusetts men are facing animal cruelty charges after a video emerged of them appearing to blow marijuana smoke into a goat’s face.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.

Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 15-year veteran in the cannabis law reform movement, he covers the policy and politics of marijuana. Separately, he founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Previously he reported for Marijuana.com and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy. (Organization citations are for identification only and do not constitute an endorsement or partnership.)

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Cannabis decrim heads to governor’s desk in New Mexico (Newsletter: March 18, 2019)

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Marijuana equity activists protest Boehner SXSW speech; Mexican lawmakers start cannabis talks; Anti-legalization congressman slams DEA

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Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

There are now 938 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2019 sessions.

Never let a marijuana bill catch you by surprise with exclusive access to Marijuana Moment’s custom-built cannabis legislation tracker for just $25/month.
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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

New Mexico lawmakers sent a marijuana decriminalization bill to the desk of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D). Meanwhile, a broader bill to legalize cannabis sales through state-run stores stalled in committee.

Anti-legalization Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) seemed to slam the Drug Enforcement Administration for refusing to reschedule marijuana during a House hearing.

  • “The DEA is failing the American public here by not letting research take place on marijuana.”

Activists for equity in the marijuana industry protested SXSW speeches by former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and MedMen’s CEO.

New polling analysis from the Pew Research Center shows that independent voters overwhelmingly support legalizing marijuana—regardless of whether they lean Republican or Democrat.

Denver, Colorado officials launched an interactive map that tracks how marijuana tax revenue funds educational programs.

Mexican lawmakers from competing parties teamed up to discuss how to work together to enact marijuana reform.

/ FEDERAL

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy invoked executive privilege to block a Freedom of Information Act request seeking the text of anti-marijuana memos submitted to the office by various federal agencies.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams tweeted, ” Hope EVERYONE agrees, we must do all we can to prevent youth marijuana use. Both the product and the delivery systems today can mean MUCH ⬆️ THC to brain than in past, and ⬆️ risk – esp to youth.”

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) and five cosponsors filed a House resolution that “condemns the Government of the Philippines for its role in state-sanctioned extrajudicial killings by police and other armed individuals as part of the ‘War on Drugs.'”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “Legalizing marijuana is about dignity & free choice. Denying both to a dying man is the real crime. I just intro’d bipartisan bill to end federal marijuana prohibition.”

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) tweeted about having dinner with travel writer Rick Steves, adding, “Rick’s the ultimate ethical businessman, using his platform to advocate against hunger & fascism, and for fair taxation & legalization of Marijuana. Grateful for all his work!”

The New York Times looks at how supporting marijuana legalization is a mainstream position for Democratic presidential candidates.

/ STATES

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) said she will add marijuana legalization to the agenda for the state’s 2020 legislative session and touted a hemp bill that lawmakers approved this year. Lawmakers also sent a medical cannabis expansion bill to her desk.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) tweeted, “Thank you to the Florida Legislature for honoring the will of the people and taking action on medical marijuana.”

Kentucky’s attorney general said he wants to let voters decide on medical cannabis, and that he would vote for it. Meanwhile, the agriculture commissioner tweeted, “In Kentucky, we designed our hemp program to help any family farmer willing to give it a chance.  Hemp once thrived in Kentucky and now we are bringing it back!” He’s set to release new data on the economic impact of hemp on Monday.

Illinois’s treasurer is supporting state legislation to increase marijuana businesses’ access to banks.

Idaho’s secretary of state said that pending legislation to make it harder to qualify voter initiatives for the ballot would apply to a medical cannabis and hemp petition that was recently filed.

Delaware’s Department of Justice is supporting a bill to make the possession, use or consumption of a personal use quantity of marijuana by minors a civil violation.

A Massachusetts judge ruled that state regulators do not have the authority to review host community agreements between municipalities and marijuana businesses.

The Maryland Senate voted unanimously to allow the sale of medical cannabis edibles at dispensaries.

New York’s Assembly speaker said he’s still open to considering including marijuana legalization in the final annual state budget.

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands House Committee on Cannabis approved amendments to the territory’s marijuana legalization law.

The Texas House Public Health Committee created a new subcommittee focused on medical cannabis.

Missouri regulators released draft medical cannabis rules.

An audit by Nevada regulators determined that the state missed out on $500,000 in tax revenue due to discrepancies in data entry by marijuana businesses. Meanwhile, the state’s advisory panel to form a Cannabis Compliance Board met.

A Pennsylvania senator wants to put marijuana legalization on the ballot.

Michigan regulators named 75 people to participate in marijuana legalization implementation working groups.

Alabama regulators approved 180 applications to cultivate hemp.

Arkansas regulators approved a third medical cannabis cultivation business to begin operations.

Here’s a critical look at Minnesota’s medical cannabis task force.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 900 cannabis bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

/ LOCAL

A number of New York county executives say they will seek to opt out of allowing legal marijuana sales.

The Denver, Colorado City Council’s Marijuana Committee will hold a Monday hearing on distance requirements for designated cannabis consumption areas.

Former Tallahassee, Florida Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) spoke about his support for legalizing marijuana in an appearance on Bill Maher’s HBO show.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Several United Nations agencies released a report on human rights and drug policy.

The Philippines is withdrawing from participation in the International Criminal Court over its inquiry into the nations bloody “war on drugs.”

/ ADVOCACY

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin tweeted, “Despite the majority of Wisconsinites’ support for marijuana legalization, @WisGOP continues to ignore the will of the people. That’s why @GovEvers’ budget legalizes marijuana and addresses the economic and racial disparities surrounding it.”

The Democratic Party of New Mexico touted a marijuana decriminalization bill that was approved by lawmakers.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review of studies on multiple sclerosis spasticity found “evidence for the efficacy and safety of THC:CBD in clinical practice.”

A study found “Sativex as effective and well tolerated for the management of the spasticity of patients with [multiple sclerosis] with moderate to severe grade symptoms.”

/ BUSINESS

The creator of Jelly Belly launched a new line of CBD-infused jelly beans.

Walmart.com is being called out for featuring a marijuana-themed sweatshirt in its juniors section.

/ CULTURE

Snoop Dogg launched a new video game competition called the Gangsta Gaming League, which “will most definitely allow the use of cannabis.”

Make sure to subscribe to get Marijuana Moment’s daily dispatch in your inbox.

Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
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Bill protects federal workers from being fired for cannabis (Newsletter: March 15, 2019)

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New CT legal marijuana plan; Treasury Sec. pressed about cannabis biz tax issues; O’Rourke’s marijuana record; Cannatourism study

Subscribe to receive Marijuana Moment’s newsletter in your inbox every weekday morning. It’s the best way to make sure you know which cannabis stories are shaping the day.

Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 385 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

Check out the perks of being a sponsor on our Patreon page.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A trio of key Connecticut House committee chairs announced a new multi-bill plan to legalize marijuana in the state.

Two senators—one Republican and one Democrat—pressed Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin about marijuana business tax deductions and credits during a hearing.

Reps. Charlie Crist (D-FL) and Don Young (R-AK), along with several cosponsors, filed a bill to block federal agencies from firing employees for state-legal marijuana consumption that doesn’t affect their job performance.

Marijuana Moment’s latest presidential candidate overview takes a comprehensive look at former Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s (D-TX) long track record on cannabis and drug policy reform.

A study sheds light on the marijuana-related reasons that so many tourists from China travel to Amsterdam.

  • “You can do a lot of things there that are illegal in China… So Chinese tourists want to go there to find a different way to relax that’s not traditional.”

/ FEDERAL

A federal RICO case against a Massachusetts medical cannabis dispensary was settled with an undisclosed “significant” monetary payment.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate, spoke about racial justice and marijuana legalization.

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) made a joke about former House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) support for marijuana law reform.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) tweeted, “Agreed, @MeghanMcCain. The stigma around cannabis must go. The potential for treating chronic conditions is just one of the many reasons to legalize.   In ending the federal prohibition of marijuana, there’s too much to gain, with nothing to lose.”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “When Americans are arrested for marijuana use, it could make it harder to get into college, find a job, qualify for public assistance or even vote. Legalizing cannabis must include expunging prior low-level offenses and dismissing current possession charges.”

The House marijuana banking bill got 13 new cosponsors, for a total of 126.

The House bill to deschedule marijuana got one new cosponsor, for a total of 22.

The House bill to require the federal government to study the impact of state marijuana laws got one new cosponsor, for a total of 25.

/ STATES

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) signed a medical cannabis regulation bill into law.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) held a press conference to push for legislation to crack down on marijuana-impaired driving.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced that since he took office the state has added 25,500 new patients, nearly 1,000 caregivers and 412 doctors to its medical cannabis program. Meanwhile, the Assembly Appropriations and Senate Judiciary Committees will hold hearings on marijuana legalization bills on Monday, and the Senate president said he is “very close” to getting the 21 votes he needs to pass the legislation.

New Mexico’s marijuana legalization bill appears to have stalled in a key committee just days ahead of the end of the legislative session.

An Idaho committee approved a hemp bill.

The Kansas Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee held a hearing on a medical cannabis bill.

The Maine legislature’s Health Coverage, Insurance, and Financial Services Committee held a hearing on a bill to require insurance companies to cover medical cannabis.

Delaware lawmakers are pushing a package of criminal justice reform bills, including one that would make underage possession or use of marijuana a civil violation instead of a criminal offense.

Washington State lawmakers are considering legislation to allow medical cannabis at schools.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 900 cannabis bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

/ LOCAL

The Hennepin County, Minnesota county attorney said his office will no longer prosecute cases involving possession or sales of less than 100 grams of marijuana.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The United Nations System Coordination Task Team issued a report criticizing punitive drug policies.

Ethiopia’s health minister is opposed to medical cannabis.

/ ADVOCACY

The Republican Party of New York tweeted, “The Nassau and Suffolk County Executives are feeling the political pressure of the grassroots opposition to their fellow Democrats’ rush to legalize marijuana. Their half-baked announcement to opt-out is a cop-out.”

Fox News host Sean Hannity said, for some reason, “Just for the record, we don’t know if AOC ever smoked weed although a lot of liberals now who care about late-term abortion, during birth abortion, even after birth abortion and yes they want to legalize weed.”

Kevin Sabet of prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana is floating the idea of suing MedMen over unspecified claims.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study “not find evidence that marijuana use in [people living with HIV] is associated with improved pain outcomes, or reduced opioid prescribing.”

A review concluded that “most of the variance in cannabis-related negative consequences was not explained by any single indicator of cannabis use, pointing to the fact that additional factors need to be examined to explain the experience of negative consequences from cannabis use and that additional indicators of cannabis use may be needed.”

/ BUSINESS

A California judge denied a request for an injunction from a marijuana company named Harvest on Geary Inc. that is suing to block another cannabis firm called Harvest of Napa, Inc. from using the name.

/ CULTURE

An artist from the Australian town of Woodenbong is commemorating the area by sculpting a giant wooden bong.

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Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
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USDA holds hemp legalization feedback session (Newsletter: March 14, 2019)

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Legal marijuana in NY budget bills; Missouri lawmakers approve expungements; Study: best way to store cannabis; Colorado delivery legislation filed

Subscribe to receive Marijuana Moment’s newsletter in your inbox every weekday morning. It’s the best way to make sure you know which cannabis stories are shaping the day.

Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

There are now 922 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2019 sessions.

Never let a marijuana bill catch you by surprise with exclusive access to Marijuana Moment’s custom-built cannabis legislation tracker for just $25/month.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The U.S. Department of Agriculture held a lengthy listening session at which it received input on in-development hemp legalization regulations from state regulators, Indian tribes and cannabis industry participants.

The Missouri House of Representatives approved a bill to expunge certain prior marijuana records.

Both the New York Senate and Assembly included marijuana legalization language in their new budget proposals. There are some interesting differences, including one chamber supporting cannabis home cultivation contrary to a request from the industry.

Colorado lawmakers filed a bill to allow marijuana deliveries. It’s one of several pending new proposals to expand the state’s cannabis industry.

A study examining the effects of lighting and temperature conditions on marijuana’s THC content over long-term storage concluded that “freezing is the best storage condition to avoid the reduction of the cannabinoids content over time.”

/ FEDERAL

The Drug Enforcement Administration sent a press release warning the public about scams involving people claiming to be federal agents threatening legal action if large fines are not paid over the phone.

The Washington Post takes a critical look at the Obama administration’s handling of fentanyl.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “The war on drugs has in reality been a war on people. We must always recognize human dignity and potential, and help each other.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tweeted, “On January 17th, @GovRonDeSantis, @JohnMorganESQ and I called upon the Florida legislature to repeal Florida’s ban on smokable medical marijuana. Today, the legislature did the right thing and successfully responded to our call. Governor DeSantis isn’t just making promises, he’s keeping them. And all Floridians are better for it.”

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) tweeted, “Yesterday, we announced a monumental step forward toward legalizing adult-use marijuana. This will truly make our state stronger and fairer for everyone.” He also discussed the issue in a radio interview. A draft of the agreed upon legislation reportedly contains broad employment protections for cannabis consumers. Meanwhile, the Senate president isn’t into the idea of putting legalization on the ballot if lawmakers can’t pass a bill.

The Florida House of Representatives sent legislation allowing patients to smoke medical cannabis to the desk of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R). The governor tweeted, “I thank the Florida Legislature for taking action on medical marijuana and upholding the will of the voters.” The state agriculture commissioner cheered the move.

Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura tweeted, “I truly feel sorry for South Dakota. @govkristinoem denied the state a great opportunity. #Hemp is a food-source for plant based protein, it’s jobs for farmers, it’s FEDERALLY LEGAL. She clearly did ZERO research before vetoing this bill.”

The Oklahoma Senate approved 17 medical cannabis regulation bills.

The Arkansas Senate Public Health Committee approved a bill banning medical cannabis edibles that could appeal to children.

Massachusetts regulators held a listening session about potential changes to the state’s marijuana laws.

Ohio lawmakers are considering hemp legalization legislation.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 900 cannabis bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

/ LOCAL

The Cocoa Beach, Florida City Commission approved an ordinance allowing police to issue civil citations for low-level marijuana possession instead of making arrests.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Swiss Federal Administrative Court ruled that the sale of legal low-THC cannabis flowers should be taxed at 25%, just like tobacco.

Zimbabwe officials issued the country’s first medical cannabis production license.

The Canadian government released a report on marijuana supply and demand.

/ ADVOCACY

Lobbying spending by the Colorado marijuana industry is increasing.

Rev. Al Sharpton spoke about equity in the marijuana industry.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “patients with cancer enrolled in Minnesota’s medical cannabis program showed significant reduction across all eight symptoms assessed within 4 months of program participation.”

/ BUSINESS

Billionaire investor Nelson Peltz joined Aurora Cannabis Inc. as a strategic advisor.

The New York Medical Cannabis Industry Association says it has expelled MedMen from the organization over racist, sexist and homophobic comments allegedly made by the company’s executives.

/ CULTURE

Marijuana business video game Weedcraft Inc. got an April 11 release date.

PolitiFact ruled that claims about former President Thomas Jefferson and marijuana are “mostly false.”

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
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